Willian has admitted that he wanted to quit Arsenal just three months into his contract, and that it cost him ‘big money’ remaining on his deal to leave.
The 33-year-old joined Arsenal in 2020 on a free transfer after failing to agree new terms with his former side Chelsea, with the Brazilian international offered a two-year deal to stay at Stamford Bridge.
Arsenal were willing to offer three seasons but an unsuccessful spell saw him leave in the summer of 2021 to return to Brazil, signing for Corinthians
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Speaking in an interview with Rio Ferdinand, Willian explained that he left because he was not happy at Arsenal.
“I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t happy. That’s why I didn’t perform. I don’t want to go into the details,” Willian told Ferdinand’s YouTube channel Five.
“When I arrived there I was happy, from the beginning I was motivated, I wanted to do well – new club, new mates, new project.
“But after three months, I said to my agent: ‘Please, I want to go’. I don’t want to speak bad about the club, because it is a big club. Arsenal has a big history.
“In football, big players played there before as well. But it didn’t work, it didn’t work. It was, of course, the most difficult time of my career.
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“It was big money that I gave up. But sometimes money is not the most important thing in life. I think you need to be happy, get pleasure every day waking up in the morning to go to train. I wasn’t having that.
“So I said to myself, with my family, I cannot stay here, I am not happy here. I have to leave, find a way out, leave the club, because if I stay I am going to stay the same. For me, it’s unfair to stay in a place that you don’t want to stay just because of the money. For me, it was that.”
The winger explained why he had decided to leave Chelsea.
“It was difficult to decide, because I wanted to stay at Chelsea,” he stated.
“But I wanted a three-year contract and Chelsea say: ‘No we want to give you two years’. So it was like this: they say two, I say three, they say two, I say three.
“At the end of the season, I decided to join Arsenal and also because before we had conversations with Edu and Mikel [Arteta] as well. They showed me a good project, they showed me a lot of good stuff that they want to do. It was because of that.
“I say well, I want three years, Arsenal wants to give me three years, I want to stay in England, I want to stay in London, my family is happy in London, maybe it is a good opportunity to go there and continue what I am doing.”
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